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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.
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To Chemo or not to Chemo, that is the question.
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Forum Posts: 52
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11 April 2008 - 9:41 am
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Ben had his 6th and final chemo yesterday.  Yay!  No more vet visits every 3 weeks.  We are hoping now he has a good summer, and lives for another year pain free.  Ben chomped down a big cheeseburger we bought for him to celebrate.  The chemo did not slow down his appetite.

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 April 2008 - 1:15 pm
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Knut said:

Ben chomped down a big cheeseburger we bought for him to celebrate.  The chemo did not slow down his appetite.


A cheeseburger? Wow! That is so cool, I never get to have any (Mom is a vegetarian). Lucky boy. Congratulations Ben, I know you’re gonna do just great!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Kellie and Isabel (K
33
11 April 2008 - 8:33 pm
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Hurray for Ben!!! Smile  Time to go smell the roses and the pollen…I am so happy for you and on top of that a cheeseburger?  Well my mommy usually does the same thing when we go to the vet and I behave like a nice girl. Feel bad for you Jerry that you don’t have the joy of enjoying one of those fatty round things called cheesey burgers… Kudos Ben wish you the best and lots of love!

Kellie

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12 April 2008 - 6:45 am
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I’m glad Ben has had his final chemo! When Darcy was having her treatment, we very nearly had one session postponed due to a very low platelet count (it was 34!). Her WBC was never really affected by her platelets were. But by the time of the blood test immediately before the scheduled treatment, her levels were OK again so the treatment went ahead. I do think it’s quite common though, for a session to have to be postponed due to a low level of one thing or another and it’s not something to really worry about. But Ben had his last one now anyway – yayyyy!

This is my take on chemo for osteo. We know that in 98% of cases, the osteo has spread BEFORE we are aware that our dog has it. If, at the time of diagnosis and amputation, the chest is clear, my personal feeling is that chemo is a good option to take. If the figure was that in 100% of cases the cancer has spread then maybe not….but the figures state 98% and that means that some of our dogs HAVE to be within that 2% margin of NON-spread. They have to be or else the figures WOULD be 100% (Am I making sense? LOL). So, if the dog is well in itself and can tolerate vet visits and regular blood tests etc, I think it’s a good choice. (But of course, I am aware that the choce HAS to be a personal one and it has to be right for the dog and for its people and whatever choices are made, the people here will support them).

Before Darcy started her chemo, I had these terrible visions in my head of what the actual treatment would entail. They played on my mind a lot whilst we waited for the treamtne to start. But when it came to it, it was all very simple and very stress-free. She had two different drugs, alternated every 3 weeks, so she had Carboplatin the first time, then Doxorubacin, then Carboplatin and then finished with Doxorubacin. She *was* going to have another go with Carboplatin as she had tolerated everything so well but it went a bit horrible after that final Doxorubacin so we decided to not give her the ‘extra’ treatment. (The course was 4 sessions so the ‘extra’ we missed really was an extra, not a necessity).

For the Carboplatin, we had a 45 minute appointment at the vets. She’d had a blood test and we’d wait for the results and then she had the drug given by IV. She lay on the floor having a tickle as the drug ran through and then we’d go home.

For the Doxorubacin, we’d drop her off in the morning, where she would be installed in a spare consulting room or in the nurses lounge (she didn’t like going down stairs to the ‘hospital’) and she’d have her bloods done and then be given the treatment by IV but this drug takes longer to administer. Then we’d collect her at lunchtime.

Here she is, during treatment 3 (the Carboplatin just before Xmas)

Ooooh – I haven’t got any buttons showing to allow me to put the pictures in (and no emoticons showing either). Ooo. Jerryyyyyyy. Help meeeeeee LOL. Erm. I’ll press save new post and then see if I get the relevant buttons back to add the pics…

Darcy – tripawd since 16th October 2007.

***Darcy would love to be your friend on Facebook - just search for Darcy Deerhound***

Manchester, UK
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12 April 2008 - 6:54 am
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Nope. Still got no buttons.
If I put the links in, maybe Jerry can do magic with them…

Our vet giving the drug …
Vet Gives Chemo Drug to Darcy

Nurse doing her thing at the end …
Nurse with Darcy after chemo treatment

Darcy waiting to see if she can get up and go!

Darcy Deerhound after Chemotherapy Treatment

So – it was all very relaxed indeed!

Darcy – tripawd since 16th October 2007.

***Darcy would love to be your friend on Facebook - just search for Darcy Deerhound***

The Rainbow Bridge



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12 April 2008 - 3:58 pm
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Bevd said:

Nope. Still got no buttons.
If I put the links in, maybe Jerry can do magic with them…


Presto! Please see this SimpleForum support topic I just posted describing the post editor buttons and how to add images. Hope this helps …

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Titan
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27 July 2008 - 10:23 pm
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My name is Titan and I am a 5 and half year old bullmastiff. I was just diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in my front leg. My mom had the vet and surgeon do xrays and a bone biopsy. I have a 3 inch tumor above my wrist bone. The pathologist is on the fence about my biopsy. Not all my samples have cancer cells. They say it is Osteosarcoma but it is not acting like the typical Osteosarcoma. My mom is confused has anyone heard of biopsy results like this? My lungs are clear so my mom wants to help me, but is afraid of the stress an amputation and chemo would do to me. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions. I am very healthy and have no hip or back leg issues so the surgeon feels I would be a good candidate for amuptation. Alot of my mom and dads friends are afraid I would do well because I am 140 lbs.

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27 July 2008 - 11:17 pm
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Titan said:

… it is not acting like the typical Osteosarcoma.


Probably because there is no "typical" OS. All the stories we hear are different. But most include a quick, complete recovery if the pup is otherwise healthy and strong.

Titan sounds like an excellent candidate for amputation. Check out the size and age matters forum for discussion about amputation in large breed dogs, or post your specific concerns there. And be sure to check out my freind Finnegan the three-legged Irish Wolfhound – he makes me look small and is now over two years post op! 

It’s perfectly normal to be confused during this tough time, but do act quickly. Osteosarcoma is an incredibly agressive form of cancer that spreads like wildfire. 

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Titan
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27 July 2008 - 11:32 pm
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My mom has a tentative appointment for my amputation August 4, 2008. I told my mom what you said and she is thankful for your support. The surgeon is away this week. we got the results this past Friday so she is trying to act as quick as she can get anyone to. She also tried to get me in to an oncologist this week but no one can get me in until August 13th. My mom pleaded my case but one oncologist saw all my records and pathology report and said they feel comfortable with me waiting. My mom does not feel comfortable with that so she is leaning towards getting the amputation done on the 4th. The surgeon and vet feel it is a low grade tumor but my mom doesn’t want to take any chances. She wants to get me the best results. My dad still needs some convincing but he knows it is very important ans she is probably not going to take no for an answer. I wish there were more resources to help other animals out with this disease. I am lucky my mom and dad have the money do it but I know other doggies families don’t. I wish there were more resources for them and for research. My mom was shocked because I have always been so healty. But she has been staying strong for me. Do you think my mom should change my diet?

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28 July 2008 - 12:14 am
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Titan said:

…they feel comfortable with me waiting. My mom does not…


While you should act quickly, I do think it would be well worth waiting a week or so if it meant getting a better (more experience) surgeon to do the procedure. You also have the benefit of your tumor being isolated further down the limb.

My dad still needs some convincing…

Just have him check out some of my three-legged dog movies and ask himself if he’d rather see you running and playing or limping around in pain the rest of your life.

…I wish there were more resources to help other animals out with this disease.

That’s why my people put this site together when I was going through my amputation ordeal.

…Do you think my mom should change my diet?

Depends on how healthy you eat now. But you should definitely consider a healthy canine cancer diet, especially if you undergo chemo treatments. 

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Titan
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28 July 2008 - 12:27 am
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The surgeon has become highly recommended. My mom just wonders if we should wait to see an oncologist first. I eat nutromax now and natural doggie treats. I also take a joint supplement. Can the cancer get to lungs within a couple of weeks if the xray show they were clear a couple of weeks ago? Thats why my mom is afraid to wait

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28 July 2008 - 8:05 am
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Good to hear about the surgeon. It’s important to feel comfortable with that decision.

In our experience, our vet recommended seeing the oncologist after my surgery. It’s a lot to think about, and I think they wanted us to focus on getting through the surgery first, then fill our brains with the oncology information after.

As far as cancer moving to the lungs; it all depends, and all cases are different. The oncologist will have a better understanding of Titan’s particular case and the way s/he believes the cancer is behaving. But try not to worry about that right now, I know it’s hard. The important thing is to focus on preparing, then healing from the amp. 

As far as Nutro Max goes, we have big concerns about it. Nutro Max is not a grain-free kibble, and is not human grade food. As this chart shows, although it’s ingredients aren’t as questionable as supermarket grade food, it’s not the best diet for a dog battling cancer. 

Grain free is important when it comes to our diet. Cancer acts more aggressively when exposed to things like carbs and sugars. My Health Tips page has some links you can check out that will tell you more.

When my Mom prepares my dinner, she likes to ask herself: would I eat this food? If she won’t eat it, then I don’t. 

Getting used to a new healthier diet can take time though, so whatever you do, if you decide to change it, don’t do it all at once. But I’ll bet once you do, you’ll LOVE eating healthier!

Feel free to post a new thread and ask others how they are eating, I know they’ll have some good advice! 

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28 July 2008 - 9:59 am
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This might be off-topic, though it’s about grains/carbs/sugar. (Jerry, please feel free to move this to Eating Healthy if it’s more appropriate.  Thanks.)

I have posted something similar in another forum when one asked about "NO" Carbs cancer diet …    

Carbs cannot be totally eliminated even for cancer diet.  It should be NO grains, LOW carbs.

Diet for dogs in general should be grain-free .  Diet for dogs with cancer is even stricter.

This is what I understand … Cancer cells thrive on sugar.

Not only blood glucose feeds the brain/organs/muscles, it also feeds cancer cells.

When blood glucose level is elevated, corresponding rise of insulin will follow, which will have a higher chance of weakening the immune system.

The idea is to regulate blood glucose at a low and steady level, and to avoid "sudden" increase of glucose entering the bloodstream. e.g. taking frequent small meals is one of the ways to keep a steady level.

Some use Glycemic Index as a way to measure how fast dietary carbs for a certain food affect blood glucose. e.g. watermelon has a higher GI than grapefruit.

Let’s take carrots as an example… carrot has both sugar and carbs to convert to glucose. However, let’s not also forget about the amount of fibre carrot has. Consuming only carrot juice might make a spike in blood glucose level, but if juice and the carrot pulps/grinds are comsumed together, the existence of the fibre will slow the breaking down of sugar to enter the bloodstream.  

The more a food is processed, the faster the dietary carbs can be converted to glucose. e.g. rolled oats vs. steel cut oats. (anyway, we don’t care about oats, it’s grains afterall.)

Cancer cells consume as much glucose as the brain; and even 2 or 3 times as much for some forms of cancer. In other words, the more the carbs intake, the more the cancer cells can benefit from (even more than the brain and other vital organs can benefit from).

Therefore, as all of us know, other things besides cutting down carbs consumption needed to be done to compliment each other in order to fight the bad cells, e.g. diet with high essential fatty acids, exercising to burn off extra blood glucose, antioxidants… etc.

Kymythy Schultze said in The Ultimate Diet: "Fats are better source of energy for dogs, which also able to derive energy needs from protein." 

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28 July 2008 - 10:24 pm
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I don’t think it’s off topic completely, but it sure would be great if you also posted it to the Eating Healthy thread.

Thank you! The information is super, and really explains so much. This site wouldn’t be what it is if it weren’t for smart people like you, taking the time to post important information like this on Tripawds. We always learn so much from you all!

 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Titan
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28 July 2008 - 10:47 pm
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Thanks for all the good information. My mom and I are new to this site but find it refreshing that it has so much information and owners who care as much as she does about me. We found the great danes and wolfhound stories very inspiring. I know if they can do it I can adjust just as well with 3 legs. Alot of people have told my mom they were concerned because I weigh 140lbs. I am a strong boy and my mom believes in me.

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